Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Re-Usable Food Industry Products-A Call To Action

I am of the opinion that it overwhelm es some people to "go green", especially restaurant owners. Lately my eyes have been wide open to the needless waste that we as a country are seemingly addicted to. Just the other day I was at my favorite wing restaurant ordering a family pack when I looked around. Diners were eating on Styrofoam plates with plastic utensils, all thrown away after being used. Really? I don't have the statistical information but it seems to me that the cost of constantly buying single use items would be greater then investing in something that is reusable.

I suggest that ALL restaurants try to do the following:



Change light bulbs to energy saving light bulbs

Nix the Styrofoam

An example of an Eco-Friendly restaurant is Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay, CA.

Sam’s is committed to the environment and ecological systems from where our food is sourced and grown – and we’re working hard to meet today’s needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Rooftop Solar Electricity
-their newest addition is a solar electric system, which covers our rooftop. It adds about 13.8 mega watt hours of electricity annually for the restaurant, saving lots of energy!

Biodegradable Packaging
For to-go items, we use 100% biodegradable and compostable boxes made from sugarcane. After the sugarcane stems are crushed and the juice is removed, the dry fibrous material leftover is called bagasse – and that’s used to create the durable, disposable to-go boxes.

Oil Recycling

We recycle all of our rice-based, trans fat-free vegetable oil from our fryers. Given that we are an East Coast-style seafood house with many fried seafood items on the menu, this represents about 300 gallons a week. The oil is picked up weekly by Dave Eck of Half Moon Bay Auto Repair. He filters and heats the oil, to produce “diesel” fuel for up to 10 of his vehicles.

Eco-Friendly Lighting

We have replaced all of our incandescent lights with fluorescent, which are known to outlast up to 13 incandescent bulbs, consuming far less energy.

Sustainable Seafood Practices

At Sam’s, we choose seafood to eat or sell that is caught or farmed in an environmentally sensitive manner, which protects the long-term health of individual fisheries and our ocean ecosystems as a whole.

Whenever possible and practical, we source fish using the Seafood Watch recommendations published by the Monterey Bay Aquarium (

The good news is that seafood that is harvested or raised more carefully often has superior taste, freshness, and purity. And better managed fish farming operations use few if any antibiotics and other chemicals.

rooftop solar panels on Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay Rooftop Solar Panels at Sam's Chowder House harbor view towards Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay sunset with boats

I'm sure that there are some restaurants in your city striving to be better, waste less and recycle. Let's support these businesses, even if it costs a little more to the consumer I'd be happy to pay now then pay the price in the long run for our excessive lifestyles.


Pamela said...

The National Restaurant Association launched a Web site to help its members be more sustainable:

it also features information about restaurants -- chains and single stores alike -- that have made big strides in being more eco-friendly.

thought you might find this info interesting.

Halogenica said...

Great tips, except about switching to CFLs - as their dull, often pinkish light is more likely to scare customers away.

Most CLFs also don't last anywhere near 13 times that of an incandescent. Only some of the ugliest long life models have a 10,000+ hr lifespan but often lose so much output towards the end that one needs to switch long before they burn out in order to get a decent light.

They also contain mercury and are not exactly environmentally-friendly.

A lighting designer would probably use warm-white metal halide lamps for lunch restaurants and low-voltage halogen spots + candles for dinner restaurants. Or a combination of these.

My earthy momma odyssey said...

Hmmm....good to know about the CFLs. Pam-GREAT SITE, thanks!